Facebook overhauled its search bar last year so that it could be used to find not only your friends but also what your friends were saying. Well, it's just been updated to do much more: it can now look beyond your inner circle.
The social network has been indexing all users' posts, enabling you to tap into its search bar, then type a phrase or keyword or name, and browse a flurry of posts directly related to what you're interested in finding. It's been doing this to your posts and your friends' posts for almost year.
So, when you search for "Game of Thrones" or "World Series", Facebook Search digs deep. It looks at what your friends have posted and are posting on Facebook, eliminating the need for you to scroll through and scour your News Feed. And starting today, Facebook is making all public posts searchable.
It's therefore important to reevaluate your granular privacy settings now. Facebook Search won't simply show strangers your privatised photos of you at the Statue of Liberty when they search "Statue of Liberty", for instance, but you'll need to ensure your stuff is locked up first, if that's what you want.
Here's everything you need to know about Facebook Search and how the new update affects your privacy:
Facebook Search: What's new?
There are now over 2 trillion public posts available in Facebook's index. And with over 1.5 billion searches per day, it's safe to say the social network is on its way to becoming a next-level Twitter, because you can use it to see what the internet is discussing in real-time. It looks at status', links, news, photos, etc.
Even if you search for something broad, such as "NFL", Facebook will organise results in a hierarchical order based on their importance to you. You'll see authoritative sources, such as news sites, followed by what your friends have posted or liked or commented upon, and then you'll see general public posts.
You'll be able to see what anyone has to say about the NFL, so long as their posts and are set to public. Facebook is basically taking the mammoth amounts of text, photos, and links dumped onto its social network and making them accessible, searchable, digestable, and comprehensible... you get it.
Facebook Search: Are results personalised?
Similar to Google's personalised search results, which are surfaced based on your email and calendar and other account entries, Facebook looks at everything you do on the social network (like who you're friends with, what pages you've liked, etc) in order to deliver personalised search results.
You'll always be able to select what type of results you want to see, too. When Facebook Search surfaces results, for instance, it organises everything by Top, Latest, People, Photos, Videos, Pages, Places, Groups, Apps, and Events, enabling you to choose what you want to see with a simple tap/click.
Facebook Search: Who can see your stuff?
Facebook Search looks at all public posts, so strangers will only see your stuff if it is set to public and not "Only Me" or "Friends". You can review individual posts you’ve shared under the Activity Log in order to directly control what people can see on Facebook, including what shows up in search.
The same thing goes with photos. Just go to the Activity Log on your profile to review what you've shared or been tagged in. You can even choose who sees/which audience can view your profile and profile information, such as your school, employer, or hometown, under the “About” tab on your profile.
Watch the video above to learn more about how to adjust your privacy settings. Facebook also offers this handy step-by-step guide that walks you through the basics of your privacy settings/what others see about you.
Facebook Search: Is it ready to use now?
Facebook hasn't change the way its search bar looks; it's just been quietly update to be more powerful. Facebook Search will be available to all English US users first (must be set as primary language). It'll start rolling out to iOS, Android, and the desktop versions of Facebook over the next few days.
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